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ASPCA Happy Tails: A Very Special “Special Needs” Cat

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 10:00am
Small grey cat wearing glasses

In celebration of the ASPCA’s new collaboration with Lil BUB, we’re dedicating this week’s Happy Tail to another special needs cat, Ella. Ella was adopted from the ASPCA in 2012, and was soon after diagnosed with terminal cancer. Despite the challenges of her illness, her adopter, Stephen B., has nothing but love for this sweet older cat. Here is their Happy Tail.

Stephen met Ella on his very first trip to the ASPCA. Drawn in by her glowing green eyes, he says, “When we found out that Ella had lived her entire life in shelters and never had a real home before, there was really no chance of saying no to her.” After Ella’s adoption, Stephen discovered tumors on her stomach and learned that she had terminal cancer. “My first reaction was to be glad that we had given her a real home for the last months of her life, or however long she had left,” recalls Stephen.

As time went on, their relationship strengthened. Stephen says, “She is very much my cat, and I’m very much her human.” In fact, he put together a “Bucket List” for Ella after receiving her diagnosis! “One of the things I really wanted to do was try taking her outside on a leash. She likes to sit on my window and look outside, so I thought she should have a chance to actually feel the grass beneath her paws.”

Grey cat with green eyes sitting outside on the grass

Four months after her first outdoor excursion, Stephen sent an exciting update: New X-rays show that Ella’s cancer has subsided, and her three-month prognosis has been updated to at least a few years. Whether it was the grass, Stephen’s love, or simply a miracle, we’ll never know, but we are so happy that this feisty feline will be around for a long time to come.

Stephen says, “Ella is probably the smartest decision I’ve made in my adult life. Cats with medical conditions deserve love just as much as the rest of them, and they’re so, so ready to give it.”

Watch Stephen and Ella’s story, including her first foray into the outdoors, in this beautiful video by our friends at The Sidekick Series.

Sleeping cat curled up on bed

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Thank you to Stephen for these beautiful, profound words about his love and compassion for his gorgeous Ella. I feel very peaceful and deeply moved after reading this "happy tail." Thank you so much, Stephen and Ella. Extraordinary story...and photos.


thanks stephen for giving ella a good home. oerhaps the fact that she was out of the shelter gave her a reason to live. hope she goes on for many years. she looks like a very sweet kitty


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We adopted two elderly cats from a rescue centre - the male 'Oscar' was at least 10 and just had multiple (benign but potentially cancerous) tumours removed from his head so looked like Frankenstein, while the female 'Portia' was at least 12 and was very poorly. We took them home expecting to give them a last few months of love. Oscar lived until 19 and Portia over 24 years respectively - both happy and healthy until their last two days. Never give up on these beautiful rescued creatures as they will reward you will so much love and happiness, however long you have them!


And bless YOU, FamMac, for taking in these lovely, loving creatures who deserved your love. I thank you on their behalf. 19 and 24 years respectively! They couldn't have done it without you.

Vane Mar

Beautiful Story, Good for Ella!

M. Vincent Cafei

You're a good person and may our Lord bless you.


God bless! She's a beautiful cat & you're a blessing to each other! :)


You are a saint! Our cats have all been rescues and they give so much love to us. Yours is an amazing story! You are a wonderful pet parent.